The Communications Authority ("CA") today (3 October 2017) announced its decision not to commence an investigation under the Competition Ordinance (Cap. 619) ("CO") in respect of the acquisition by Asia Cube Global Communications Limited, which is wholly-owned by a fund managed by I Squared Capital, a private investment firm, of the entire equity interests of Hutchison Global Communications Investment Holding Limited (“HGCIH”), which wholly owns Hutchison Global Communications Limited (“HGC”), a carrier licensee under the Telecommunications Ordinance (Cap. 106) (“TO”) (“Acquisition”). HGC is authorised to provide internal and external fixed telecommunications services in Hong Kong.
As the Acquisition involved a carrier licensee (i.e. HGC) under the TO, it falls within the Merger Rule under the CO, which provides that an undertaking must not, directly or indirectly, carry out a merger that has, or is likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition ("SLC effect") in Hong Kong.
The CA is conferred concurrent jurisdiction with the Competition Commission ("Commission") to enforce the CO in respect of the conduct of certain undertakings operating in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors, including merger and acquisition activities involving carrier licensees. According to the Memorandum of Understanding entered into with the Commission under the CO, the CA is the lead authority with respect to the Acquisition.
Having carefully considered the information about the Acquisition, and the assessment conducted by the Office of the Communications Authority in accordance with the Guideline on the Merger Rule jointly issued by the CA and the Commission, the CA is of the view that the Acquisition is unlikely to have SLC effect in Hong Kong, and accordingly will not commence an investigation into the Acquisition under the CO.
3 October 2017